“How do you know what to do NEXT?” This is my favorite question to ask business owners, but that question really applies to anyone. Especially in the morning. It implies that the next thing you will work in is the next highest priority for right now. Here’s a simple formula on how to start your day.
- Check your calendar for today, whether you use an electronic or paper calendar. Just check your calendar to remember what commitments you’ve made and what the pace for the day will be.
- Check your calendar for the week. Checking over the next 2-5 days of commitments will allow you to make changes for timing, weather, illness, urgent commitments, and so on. Just looking ahead a few days allows you to get out of fire drill mode.
- Check your to-do list. You can’t do it all, but you can pick the top 2-3 items for today, and focus on getting those important things done. I know, it’s all seems important, but it’s not.
- Keep your to-do list open and ready for new items. In the morning, when you are refreshed from sleep, you might suddenly remember things that need to be done, people you need to talk to, but they may not be one of your top 3 items to do today. Be sure to park those to-do’s on your list, and then get right back to your top items for today (see previous item). You haven’t forgotten anything, but your top priorities are still top of your list and actionable now.
This whole exercise will take you about 2 minutes or less.
Check. Check. Check. List.
What not to start with? You guessed it: email, Facebook, water cooler time, tasks you didn’t finish yesterday, anything that is a known unstructured and time-sucking task.
Even if kids are asking for your attention. Even if you are running late. Even if it’s summer. Even if you are having an off day. Building the habit of doing these 4 things can start you on the track to having a fabulous, organized day.